Financial News http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12009/all en-US What Net Neutrality Means For Your Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/net_neutrality_000039464264.jpg" alt="man learning about what net neutrality means for his wallet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Just like water and electricity, Internet service is now essentially considered a public utility following the passage of new <a href="http://www.fcc.gov/openinternet">net neutrality rules</a> by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Depending on which camp your views are aligned with, this is either a positive step toward ensuring equal Internet access for everyone, or a bad move that could bring about over-regulation by the government.</p> <p>But, love it or hate it, net neutrality has arrived. And while a drawn-out court battle over the FCC decision will likely delay any real changes to your nightly Netflix consumption, we figure it's worth exploring how net neutrality could eventually impact your wallet.</p> <h2>American Consumers Could Face a Tax Increase of $11 Billion &mdash; Or Zero</h2> <p>According to a Progressive Policy Institute study, net neutrality rules could generate $11 billion in new taxes if regulators apply the existing fees on your telephone bill to your Internet bill.</p> <p>&quot;If these fees are already on the books and Internet service gets reclassified as a public utility, it makes it easier for these state and local authorities to argue [Internet service] should be subject to the same fees,&quot; said Hal Singer, one of the PPI study authors.</p> <p>Some experts, however, say it's unlikely that your Internet bill would reflect your <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/net-neutrality-taxes-mike-lee-fact-check">telephone bill fees</a>. Your phone bill, for example, most likely includes a charge for the local emergency 911 service, something that's totally inapplicable to your Internet usage. Following this school of thought, many pro-net neutrality scholars claim the new rules won't lead to any tax increase, while others say it will probably lead to a relatively small tax hike somewhere in the ballpark of $4 billion. PPI's number is already scaled back from its <a href="http://www.progressivepolicy.org/slider/outdated-regulations-will-make-consumers-pay-broadband/">original $15 billion estimate</a>, an indication of just how unstable these early projections are.</p> <h2>Potential Job Cuts in Telecom Industries</h2> <p>A New York University study found that net neutrality could cost the U.S. economy $62 billion and <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/technology/content/jun2010/tc20100616_751009.htm">eliminate half a million jobs</a> over the next five years. This is based on the notion that the new regulations would reduce broadband providers' incentive to invest in high-speed network infrastructure by shrinking their opportunity to bring in revenue.</p> <p>&quot;There will be follow-on effects in the whole ecosystem,&quot; said Bret Swanson, who co-authored the NYU study. &quot;A diminution of investment by the big infrastructure companies will reduce network capacity, new services, and investment by all the ecosystem companies.&quot;</p> <p>But not everyone agrees. For example, the chief technology officer for Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier and a proponent of stricter net neutrality rules, has publically said that neither Sprint nor its competitors would <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/11/us-sprint-corp-internet-neutrality-idUSKBN0LF00720150211">reduce investment</a> in light of increased regulation. &quot;Our competitors are going to continue to invest so they are representing a situation that won't play out,&quot; Stephen Bye told Reuters.</p> <p>Clearly, the jury's still out on exactly how much net neutrality will cost consumers like you. Keep your eye on this important new policy and its developments.</p> <p><em>Do you expect the new rules to help your budget &mdash; or hurt it? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-vista-hack-to-get-you-browsing-at-high-speed-again">Quick Vista Hack to Get You Browsing at High-Speed Again</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel">6 Ways to Slash the Cost of Wi-Fi When You Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Technology bills Internet job cuts Net Neutrality tax increases Wed, 01 Apr 2015 09:00:15 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1359630 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Reasons Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World's Butt http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/children_race_000029170966.jpg" alt="Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World&#039;s Butt" title="Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World&#039;s Butt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may be hard to believe, but the U.S. economy is giving the world a run for its money. Compared to most major developed nations, the U.S. is out-performing in terms of most major economic indicators. It seems we've managed to escape the grip of the Great Recession more quickly (and with perhaps less lasting damage), than many other wealthy countries. Read on to learn why today's American economy is the envy of the world.</p> <h2>1. Higher GDP Growth Rate</h2> <p>The U.S. economy's <a href="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/gdp-annual-growth-rate">2.4% GDP growth rate</a> in 2014 was the best since the recession &mdash; and it's expected to grow an even stronger <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2015/01/30/u-s-economy-grew-2-6-in-fourth-quarter-2-4-in-2014/">3.4% in 2015</a>, according to Forbes and the Economist Intelligence Unit. Our GDP growth also exceeds that of many other developed nations; the Euro area grew by a modest 0.9% in 2014, while Japan's economy actually shrank by 0.8%. And while emerging market powerhouses like China are still clocking growth rates of over 7%, this is a lower level of growth for them that actually poses some concern for their economic prospects. The U.S. economy, meanwhile, is on an upward trajectory.</p> <h2>2. Lower Unemployment Levels</h2> <p>Greece's unemployment is over 25%. France's is over 10%. Even Canada and Australia's are over 6%. But the <a href="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/unemployment-rate">American unemployment rate</a> currently stands at about 5.5% &mdash; a marked decline since its peak of over 10% during the worst of the recession, and a good deal lower than many other developed nations'.</p> <h2>3. Stable Inflation</h2> <p>Both too much inflation, and its opposite, known as deflation (or negative inflation) are of concern to economists. That's because stable prices are essential for maintaining a healthy rate of growth and employment. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, for example, some years clocked deflation of about 10%. Meanwhile, the recession of the early 80's came packed with whopping inflation rates some years of over 13%!</p> <p>So, it should come as no surprise that America's relatively stable <a href="http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/">2014 inflation rate of about 1.6%</a> is the envy of other developed countries &mdash; such as many in the Euro area, where negative inflation has developed. In fact, some economists say the U.S. could actually stand to have a little more inflation for optimal results.</p> <h2>4. Resource-Rich Economy</h2> <p>The political instability in places like Venezuela, the Middle East, Ukraine, and Russia terrify many countries who rely upon their energy exports to fuel their economies. But it isn't only oil that's a concern &mdash; grains, food products, and a variety of other raw materials or agricultural good imports are also important to many countries who don't produce enough of their own. The U.S. finds itself in an advantageous position in this regard, thanks to its ample domestic supply of many essential resources.</p> <h2>5. Younger Population</h2> <p>A younger population means many things. It is more dynamic and innovative, leading to new ideas and companies. There are more able-bodied workers to fuel our industries. And of course, having a larger supply of younger workers is also a buttress for social programs, such as Social Security, which are largely financed by their contributions. Many European nations and Japan are rapidly aging, and face dire economic consequences, as a result. The U.S. has higher birth and immigration rates to thank for this advantage.</p> <h2>6. Stronger Banking System</h2> <p>American regulators responded effectively to the banking crisis, instituting programs such as The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and requiring banks undergo scrutiny of their financial position via the so-called &quot;stress tests.&quot; The Fed also backed the acquisition of troubled or weaker banks, such as Washington Mutual, by larger banks, thus helping ensure the stability of the financial system. Today, the U.S. banking system is relatively strong and well-capitalized. Meanwhile, banks in parts of Europe, where stress tests took longer to be implemented, still face concern.</p> <h2>7. Effective Use of Stimulus</h2> <p>The stress tests and TARP are just a couple of examples of how the U.S. took the lead during the recession in ways many of its developed country counterparts didn't. The U.S. responded to the recession more quickly and aggressively, instituting strong stimulus measures to combat the downturn early on, including bond and asset purchases known as Quantitative Easing, sharply lowering interest rates, extending unemployment benefits, bailing out the now-profitable auto industry and financing shovel-ready projects. Europe and Japan took much longer or didn't implement stimulus as aggressively; the result, some economists say, is a markedly weaker recovery in those countries.</p> <h2>8. Strong Dollar</h2> <p>Not everyone is thrilled by the strength of the U.S. dollar (exporters, for example, find it tougher to sell their wares abroad), but the strength of the dollar is great news for U.S. consumers, who enjoy cheaper prices on imported goods. The strong dollar is also evidence of America's relative economic strength (after many years of trading for less than the Euro, the two currencies are now nearly at <a href="http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=EUR&amp;to=USD&amp;view=10Y">parity to the Euro</a>, for example). It's also partly based on the belief that we'll soon begin raising interest rates; a stronger economy means interest rates can finally rise, and higher rates draw more investors into the U.S. economy, thus boosting the dollar.</p> <h2>9. Strong Stock Market</h2> <p>&quot;The stock market is overvalued and due for a correction any day,&quot; say pundits. &quot;It's a bubble &mdash; people but stocks only because interest rates are so low and they can't get returns anywhere else.&quot;</p> <p>Even if those two statements were true, they still don't negate the fact that U.S. equity markets have been on a tear in recent years (the S&amp;P 500 and NASDAQ are both near <a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/13063690/1/stocks-add-to-february-rally-as-nasdaq-hits-15-year-high.html">record highs</a>). And that's in part because investors from around the world still trust our companies and stock markets.</p> <p>But there's something else happening here, too: Merger and acquisition activity, as well as IPOs, are by some measures <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-2014-u-ipo-activity-163600415.html">back to pre-recession levels</a>. That' the stuff the economy runs on &mdash; new companies being launched, and existing companies being bought and sold. That this type of activity is up is further evidence of trust not only in U.S. markets &mdash; but in the U.S. economy, as a whole.</p> <p><em>Are you benefiting from the strong U.S. economy? Tell us how in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janet-al-saad">Janet Al-Saad</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt-and-income">Peak Debt and Income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy">Do These 8 Things to Profit From the Improving Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-gdp-still-important">Is GDP Still Important?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-in-store-for-the-economy">What&#039;s in Store for the Economy?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Economy GDP growth US economy world economy Tue, 17 Mar 2015 21:00:12 +0000 Janet Al-Saad 1344238 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Profit From Obama's Cuba Announcement http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/obama_000019001597.jpg" alt="Obama town hall meeting" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The historic executive order issued by President Obama heralds a new era of eased relations between the United States and Cuba. After over 50 years of iciness between the two neighbors, Obama's order establishes official diplomatic ties, reduces some travel and financial restrictions, and paves the way for greater humanitarian support, as well as trade in some areas, such as communications equipment.</p> <p>While the executive order still doesn't mean all Americans can travel to Cuba for tourism or bring back as many Cuban cigars as they'd like, it does pave the way for stronger economic and social ties between the two countries. Even better, there are a few simple ways you can profit from this historic accord. Read on to learn five ways the Cuba announcement can boost your pocketbook.</p> <h2>1. Consider Travel Stocks</h2> <p>At just 90 miles from the U.S., Cuba was an American tourism hotspot before the embargo, and remains a top travel destination for many Canadians and Europeans. That's why easing of restrictions to the island nation is likely a boon for travel companies. Cruise lines such as <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=CCL&amp;type=2button&amp;fr=uh3_finance_web&amp;uhb=uhb2">Carnival&nbsp;Cruises</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylt=AkV8CgTowyRCTxgevM741TEnv7gF?uhb=uhb2&amp;fr=uh3_finance_vert_gs&amp;type=2button&amp;s=RCL">Royal Caribbean</a> have rallied on the news, seeing their stock prices boosted in anticipation of liberalized travel restrictions. Keep in mind, however, that this executive order is not a lifting of the Cuban embargo &mdash; that's up to Congress. American tourism to Cuba would be limited until such a time, so assess travel stocks accordingly.&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. Buy Into a Caribbean ETF or Fund</h2> <p>Today's historic announcement triggered a spike in the <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylc=X1MDMjE0MjQ3ODk0OARfcgMyBGZyA3VoM19maW5hbmNlX3dlYgRmcjIDc2EtZ3AEZ3ByaWQDBG5fZ3BzAzUEb3JpZ2luA2ZpbmFuY2UueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMxBHBxc3RyAwRxdWVyeQNDVUJBLARzYWMDMQRzYW8DMQ&mdash;?p=http%3A%2F%2Ffinance.yahoo.com%2Fq%3Fs%3DCUBA%26ql%3D0&amp;type=2button&amp;fr=uh3_finance_web&amp;uhb=uh3_finance_vert&amp;s=CUBA">Hertzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund (CUBA)</a>, a fund which invests in companies throughout the Caribbean, including Cuba. Its price was up over 30% in intraday trading. Consider investing in ETFs or mutual funds with exposure to the island nation's businesses.</p> <h2>3. Look at Wire Transfer and Remittance Companies</h2> <p>The executive order increases the amount Americans may send in remittances to Cuba to $2000 per quarter, up from $500 today. That'll mean brisk business for remittance and wire transfer companies such as <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=WU&amp;fr=uh3_finance_vert_gs&amp;type=2button&amp;uhb=uhb2">Western Union</a>. Its stock was up nearly 4% in intraday trading on the news.</p> <h2>4. Consider Credit Card Companies and Banks</h2> <p>The new rules will also be to the benefit of many financial services companies, since it'll now enable American debit and credit cards to be used on the island. That could be a boost to credit card companies and card processing services. Shares of <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylt=AwrBJR9565FUrSEA0UCTmYlQ?s=V">VISA</a> and <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=AXP">American Express</a> also saw gains.</p> <h2>5. Consider Telecommunications</h2> <p>An authoritarian regime, Cuba has long been plagued by controls on its communications technologies which have been exacerbated by the embargo. The new executive order promises improved access to American telecommunications and Internet technology imports. That means stock of companies such as Verizon could see a boost. And when combined with further easing on travel to Cuba for import/export reasons, it means Americans involved in trade of communications products and devices may see improved business as a result.</p> <p>To be sure, there is no guarantee all of the executive order will be implemented easily, nor that any of these investments will bear significant returns. Already, some Republican lawmakers have expressed frustration with Obama's executive order, creating a potential Congressional showdown and hampering the likelihood of repealing the embargo. Still, this remains a historic opportunity to get in early on what may be one of the biggest investment stories of the next few years.</p> <p><em>Will you make changes to your portfolio to profit from normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janet-al-saad">Janet Al-Saad</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-wealth-in-a-depressed-economy">How to Build Wealth in a Depressed Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-avoid-401k-fees">Boost Your Retirement Savings: Avoid 401(k) Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/etfs-offer-incredible-benefitswith-a-dark-side">ETFs Offer Incredible Benefits...with a Dark Side</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-not-just-for-people">Retirement: Not Just for People?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-vet-an-ipo-before-you-buy">6 Ways to Vet an IPO Before You Buy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Investment cuba obama Thu, 12 Mar 2015 07:40:16 +0000 Janet Al-Saad 1270232 at http://www.wisebread.com Gas Prices Begin a Rebound: 5 Things to Know Now Before You Buy Your Next Car http://www.wisebread.com/gas-prices-begin-a-rebound-5-things-to-know-now-before-you-buy-your-next-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/gas-prices-begin-a-rebound-5-things-to-know-now-before-you-buy-your-next-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000051470404_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Five years ago, I traded in a nimble 500 horsepower sports car for a hulking half-ton pickup truck. That's quite a change in daily driving habits, no doubt. But I remember my biggest shock: that first visit to the gas station. It cost over $100 to fill up the truck, twice what I was used to. I felt a little twinge of dread in the gut.</p> <p>It was really just psychological; the truck's gas tank was twice as big as the sports car's &mdash; they both got about the same gas mileage. But that pain in the pump stuck with me as gas prices rose for the next couple of years to about $4 a gallon.</p> <p>We've all enjoyed the break in the cost of a gallon of gas over the last half year. But lately, those pump prices have begun to rebound a bit. The AAA reports the <a href="http://www.fuelgaugereport.com/">national average</a> for a gallon of regular gas is up nearly 30 cents from a month ago, to $2.29. Though that's still more than $1 cheaper than the average of a year ago.</p> <p>A lot of folks believe the pump price jump is just beginning. A national survey by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says most Americans believe we're going to see at least a <a href="http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/150215_gasprices_pressrelease.pdf">50% price increase</a> in the next two years &mdash; to well over $3 per gallon &mdash; and an 80% hike in the next five years &mdash; back to near $4. Some experts are saying we're heading to <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/01/19/gas-oil-five-dollar-gallon/21865975/">$5 per gallon</a> before too long. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Gas Rewards</a>)</p> <p>If we really think the good times of gas prices are numbered, how does that impact our next vehicle purchase? Here are five takeaways.</p> <h2>1. 28 MPG or Better</h2> <p>On average, the consumers surveyed said they would be looking for the gas mileage of their next vehicle to around 30 MPG, compared to the 25 MPG rating of what they're driving now. That's a solid step to savings. Based on the poll's price expectations, driving an 18 MPG gas guzzler would cost you nearly $5,000 more on gas over the next five years than driving a 28 MPG vehicle. Most of us keep a vehicle for an average of at least five years, and with where we think prices are headed, driving an 18 MPG vehicle would see your current $178 average monthly gas costs nearly double in five years to $325 per month. Maybe our motto should be &quot;28 MPG or better.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Shop Smart &mdash; It's Not All Gravy</h2> <p>A hybrid vehicle can generally cost you a <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/hybrid/before-buy.html">20% premium</a> over an identical conventional gasoline engine model. Electric or part-time electric models are usually even more expensive. The break-even point a couple of years ago was about four years, however these days it can take closer to eight years to recoup your investment. But as gas prices go higher, that investment break-even point will shrink once again.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. Green Cars Are Going for Less Green</h2> <p>While some consumers with short memories and unbridled optimism are buying trucks, SUVs, and other gas guzzlers while fuel prices are low, dealers are discounting the currently out-of-favor fuel-efficient vehicles, plug-ins, and hybrids. <a href="http://www.hybridcars.com/why-now-is-a-good-time-to-buy-a-hybrid-or-plug-in-car/">Discounts on green cars</a> are running 15% or better, and you're banking as much as 40-50 MPG.</p> <h2>4. Get the Credit You Deserve</h2> <p>Some advanced hybrid and electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, with additional credits available in some states.</p> <h2>5. Savings Are Not Just on New Cars</h2> <p>Cheap gas is also impacting the used vehicle market. The National Auto Dealer Association says used mid-sized and full-sized pickups and SUV prices are up as much as 5%, while midsize and compact cars are discounted that much, or more.</p> <p>There's not a straight-up &quot;final answer&quot; on whether to go green on your next vehicle purchase. But fuel-efficient and fuel-alternative cars are getting cooler. With the introduction of the BMW i3 and the continued brisk sales of the upscale Tesla, going green has never been more popular. And keeping an eye on the MSRP and the MPG is a good way to boost your ROI.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hal-m-bundrick-cfp">Hal M. Bundrick CFP</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gas-prices-begin-a-rebound-5-things-to-know-now-before-you-buy-your-next-car">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-next-car-be-electric">Should Your Next Car Be Electric?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-the-best-search-engine-ever-for-new-used-cars">Is This the Best Search Engine Ever for New &amp; Used Cars?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-joy-of-buying-a-new-car-9-car-buying-tips">The Joy of Buying a New Car: 9 Car Buying Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-will-you-do-when-gas-drops-below-150-a-gallon">What will you do when gas drops below $1.50 a gallon?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-gas-free-ebook">Save money on gas + free ebook</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Financial News car buying gas prices Tue, 24 Feb 2015 20:58:45 +0000 Hal M. Bundrick CFP 1309178 at http://www.wisebread.com Brian Williams' $5 Million Fib: 4 Little Lies that Can Cost You Your Job http://www.wisebread.com/brian-williams-5-million-fib-4-little-lies-that-can-cost-you-your-job <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/brian-williams-5-million-fib-4-little-lies-that-can-cost-you-your-job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-contemplating-Dollarphotoclub_50735780.jpg" alt="businessman contemplating" title="businessman contemplating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It was a $5 million fib. Maybe even more expensive than that. <em>NBC Nightly News</em> anchor Brian Williams' war story tall tale cost him six months pay, and considering his freshly signed five-year, $50 million contract, that's an expensive white lie. The fact is, he's likely never to return to the anchor desk at NBC, so his out-of-pocket penalty could be much larger.</p> <p>He fell into a surprisingly easy trap: stretching the truth so far as to finally reach the breaking point. It's something celebrities tend to do often &mdash; start believing their own press hype. But we're all prone to tell a &quot;harmless&quot; little falsehood now and then. <em>Your baby is so cute! No, those pants don't make your butt look big. The check is in the mail.</em> We all know the routine.</p> <p>And it's something we do at work, too. Well, we can't be brutally honest at all costs and there is a certain amount of gamesmanship in being gainfully employed, right? We're not really going to tell our boss she's gained a few pounds, are we? But little lies can compound over time &mdash; as Brian Williams well knows &mdash; and can take on a life of their own, if we're not careful. Here are six workplace white lies to avoid.</p> <h2>Taking Credit for Something You Didn't Do</h2> <p>You think people won't find out but they will. One survey noted the <a href="http://www.natcom.org/CommCurrentsArticle.aspx?id=1022">most frequent workplace lie</a> involves using deception to discredit other employees while attempting to make themselves look better to the organization. Brian Williams was &quot;taking credit&quot; for <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/nbcs-brian-williams-apologizes-false-iraq-war-story/">risking life and limb</a> on a helicopter in a war zone. Certainly without meaning to he may have, to some small degree, <a href="http://www.stripes.com/news/us/nbc-s-brian-williams-recants-iraq-story-after-soldiers-protest-1.327792#.VNKWQdl3NjQ.twitter">discredited members of the military</a> &mdash; often in harm's way &mdash; who took offense with his &quot;faulty memory.&quot;</p> <h2>Lying on a Resume</h2> <p>In a survey conducted last year by Career Builder, 58% of hiring managers said they've <a href="http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=8%2F7%2F2014&amp;id=pr837&amp;ed=12%2F31%2F2014">caught a lie</a> on a resume. And in an increasingly competitive job market, the problem is getting worse. One-third (33%) of those same employers said they've seen an increase in resume embellishments since the recession.</p> <p>It's not just about lying about the length of employment or education, either. One applicant claimed to have 25 years of experience &mdash; at the age of 32! Whoops. Half of employers surveyed (51%) said that they would automatically dismiss a candidate if they caught a lie on their resume.</p> <h2>Professing Competence in Something You Know Little About</h2> <p>It might start out with, &quot;Sure, I know how to use QuickBooks,&quot; and end up being &quot;...Well, I thought I could figure it out.&quot; That same Career Builder survey said it was one of the most common resume lies &mdash; &quot;embellished skill set&quot; &mdash; committed by 57% of those seeking to stretch the truth on their applications. And again, over half of employers surveyed saw resume fibs as grounds for dismissal.</p> <h2>Make Promises You Can't &mdash; Or Don't Intend &mdash; To Keep</h2> <p>As customers, we've often been on the receiving end of this white lie. &quot;Your table will be ready in five minutes.&quot; Thirty minutes later, we're still waiting &mdash; hungry and irritable. Sales training professionals often preach a mantra of &quot;under promise and over deliver&quot; to trainees, looking to build a culture of surprising customers, in a good way.</p> <p>And one final thought about lying &mdash; non-work related. A recent survey said that seven million Americans lie to their spouse or significant other about matters of money. In fact, one-quarter of adults under 30 admitted to being less than honest with the one they love about debt, spending, hidden accounts, or other financial falsehoods. Being open and honest about money is important in a relationship.</p> <p>Losing a love is much worse than losing a job.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hal-m-bundrick-cfp">Hal M. Bundrick CFP</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brian-williams-5-million-fib-4-little-lies-that-can-cost-you-your-job">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-and-wall-street-is-the-romance-gone">Women and Wall Street: Is the Romance Gone?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-careers-that-pay-women-more-than-men">7 Careers That Pay Women More Than Men</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming">You’re Fired! 20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs">6 Gadgets Every Work at Home Professional Needs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Financial News brian williams Sun, 22 Feb 2015 07:42:00 +0000 Hal M. Bundrick CFP 1304298 at http://www.wisebread.com Do These 8 Things to Profit From the Improving Economy http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-buying-home-178728490-small.jpg" alt="couple buying home" title="couple buying home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After several years of sluggish growth, it appears that the economy is getting better. Unemployment has dropped. The stock market has been setting record highs. But are you poised to take full advantage of the rebound? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-rising-interest-rates-can-help-your-wallet?ref=seealso">8 Ways Rising Interest Rates Can Help Your Wallet</a>)</p> <p>Here are eight ways to position yourself for the best result once the economy kicks into high gear.</p> <h2>1. Pay Off Debt</h2> <p>If the economy is getting better and you find yourself earning more, getting rid of debt should be your first priority. The last thing you want is to miss out on an economic boom because you're handcuffed by loans and credit card bills, so pay that stuff off. And do it fast, because a good economy often comes with higher interest rates. So if you have debt, it's best to rid yourself of it before it gets pricier to pay down later.</p> <h2>2. Spend Less</h2> <p>The flipside of higher interest rates is that you'll be making more on any money you have in your bank account. So there's an incentive to save now. What's more, you may be earning more in general during strong economic times, so you have the double whammy of stashing more money into those saving and retirement accounts, plus a higher return.</p> <h2>3. Pump Those Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>There's never a truly bad time to begin investing, especially if you have a long savings window. So get started now, before stock prices get too out of hand. Consider upping your 401(k) contribution. And if you have an IRA, you have until April 15 to make contributions that count toward 2014's tax bill.</p> <h2>4. Lock In Whatever Prices You Can</h2> <p>A good economy often comes with some inflation. So it might make sense to explore ways to secure long-term price stability on items or services you use frequently. Locking in a price on a cable or mobile phone bill might make sense, and you may even be able to lock in prices on electricity and other utilities.</p> <h2>5. Build Up Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>If you are fortunate enough to have some extra money come your way, consider using it to build up your savings to protect yourself. Opinions vary on how much liquid cash you should have socked away, but at least three months of salary is a good rule of thumb.</p> <h2>6. Consider Buying That House</h2> <p>If interest rates do go up, mortgages could get pricier. So it may be wise to try and purchase a home now while rates are still historically low. If you've been on the fence about when to buy, now may be the time.</p> <h2>7. Ask for That Raise</h2> <p>When the economy was slow, employers were loath to give out pay raises. &quot;Times are tough, we've got to tighten belts,&quot; was the common response. Now, with things improving, it's harder for your boss to make the argument that you're not worth a bump in pay. If your organization has done well financially and you feel you've played a role in that, go ahead and ask for that increase.</p> <h2>8. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile</h2> <p>If things are getting better, employers may starting looking for new hires. Take advantage of the situation by updating your online presence and doing what's necessary to look good to recruiters. If you stopped working during the downturn, maybe its time to get back into the workforce. If you hate your job, maybe now is when you find a better one. And if you like your job, it never hurts to build up your network and see what else is out there.</p> <p><em>Are you ready for a better economy? How do you plan to profit from it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt">9 Reasons Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World&#039;s Butt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-buys-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2015">8 Buys That Will Be Cheaper in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-inflation">Why Inflation?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/another-path-to-recovery-higher-incomes">Another path to recovery: higher incomes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-weird-logic-of-economic-growth">The weird logic of economic growth</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News debt Economy employment growth income spending Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1264105 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Weird Money Laws You May Have Broken http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-money-laws-you-may-have-broken <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-weird-money-laws-you-may-have-broken" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fortune-teller-459884341.jpg" alt="fortune teller" title="fortune teller" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money can make people do strange things. But what about when money laws themselves are beyond comprehension?</p> <p>From bizarre tax systems at home to monarchy-imposed oddities abroad, the world is full of some very odd laws governing the spending and collecting of money. Lucky for you, this list of them is free.</p> <h2>1. Don't Step</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/stepping-money-494564415.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Thailand's king is featured prominently on all the country's currency. Thailand's king is also not to be criticized, under legal penalty. So by extension, Thailand has one of the stranger money laws around: stepping on money is considered extremely disrespectful, and crazily enough, <a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/how-not-arrested-thailand-doing-these-things-5584569.html">could land you in a Thai jail</a>.</p> <h2>2. Do the Running Man, Pay the Tax Man</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/grandpa-dj-177803763.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>In Washington state, cover charges for movies, concerts, and theater are tax free. Unless, that is, the venue provides patrons with an &quot;<a href="http://www.futureofmusic.org/blog/2013/04/16/washington-state-dance-tax-has-venues-hands-and-feet-tied">opportunity to dance</a>&quot; (seriously), in which case tax must be paid. A holdover law from the 60s, the provision was largely forgotten about until recently, when one establishment was charged $25,000 for non-compliance.</p> <h2>3. Candy Pain</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/pretzel-154204881.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Buy a Twizzler in Kentucky and you're free from paying taxes. Buy a chocolate-coated pretzel, and you better keep that receipt. That's because their state law declares tax exempt <a href="http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/finance-unusualsalestaxes/kentucky-candy-not-such-a-sweet-deal/">only those candies that don't contain flour</a>. Seems a little half-baked.</p> <h2>4. Canadian Currency Conundrum</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/counting-change-139247071.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Find it annoying when the person in front of you in line starts counting out pennies for their purchase? Well in Canada, you could have that person arrested. According to the <a href="http://www.factfixx.com/2011/08/09/weird-laws-paying-with-coins-in-canada/">Canadian Currency Act</a>, there are all sorts of legal restrictions on what you can and can't pay for with coins, including the illegality of using more than 25 pennies in any transaction.</p> <h2>5. Nay-Saying Sooth-Saying</h2> <p><img width="605" height="341" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/fortune-teller-459884341.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>For something weird you're not allowed to charge money for, how about <a href="http://www.mattmlaw.com/blog/2013/10/obscure-crimes-fortune-telling-is-illegal-in-pennsylvania.shtml">Pennsylvania&rsquo;s law against soliciting payment for fortune telling</a>? The misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail, and extends to outlaw charging to place hexes or spells on people.</p> <h2>6. The Bagel Burden</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/bagel-121871835.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It's tough to walk down a New York City street without running into a bagel joint. But if you're looking to avoid being charged tax on one of those heavenly bread circles, make sure you do not, under any circumstances, ask for your bagel to be sliced. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/25/bagel-tax-new-york_n_694361.html">As soon as the bagel is sliced</a> (or schmeared, for that matter!), it's considered prepared food, and can be taxed up to 9 cents.</p> <h2>7. Bavarian Bribes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/bribe-488122455.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>While most of this list features legal restrictions, this last law gets honorable mention (it was eliminated just a few years ago) for <em>helping</em> facilitate a strange financial transaction. Namely: bribery. German tax law, it turns out, actually allowed private companies to <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/stories/1995-08-06/germany-where-bribery-is-tax-deductible-intl-edition%20http://www.businessweek.com/stories/1995-08-06/germany-where-bribery-is-tax-deductible-intl-edition">write off the costs of bribery on their returns</a>.</p> <p>Though good luck dealing with the angry bribe recipients after listing their names on your receipts&hellip;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-money-laws-you-may-have-broken">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-seattle">Free and Cheap Things to Do in Seattle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clams-cheese-and-bread-why-we-call-money-what-we-do">Clams, Cheese, and Bread: Why We Call Money What We Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-complete-guide-to-saving-at-americas-baseball-stadiums">A Complete Guide to Saving at America&#039;s Baseball Stadiums</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dramatic-vacation-spots-for-tv-and-film-fanatics">5 Dramatic Vacation Spots for TV and Film Fanatics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-never-pay-full-price-for">25 Things to Never Pay Full Price For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Financial News Travel finance laws laws money money laws weird Fri, 20 Jun 2014 21:12:04 +0000 Joe Epstein 1142576 at http://www.wisebread.com Clams, Cheese, and Bread: Why We Call Money What We Do http://www.wisebread.com/clams-cheese-and-bread-why-we-call-money-what-we-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/clams-cheese-and-bread-why-we-call-money-what-we-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dollar-481331743-small.jpg" alt="dollar" title="dollar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money. Sadly, it does make the world go around. There are around <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_circulating_currencies">180 different</a> types of currency in the world, including the Albanian <em>lek</em>, the Haitian <em>gourde</em>, the Moroccan <em>dirham</em>, and the Zambian <em>kwacha</em>. But you are more likely to know the slang terms for the US dollar and the British pound than any of those. Do you know where those terms actually came from? Let's take a look.</p> <h2>Buck</h2> <p>We use it so often, most of us don't stop to think that the word <em>buck</em> has very little to do with the word <em>dollar</em>. There doesn't seem to be any correlation, anyway. Why do we use <em>bucks</em>, when <em>dollars</em> works just as well? It seems there are many theories surrounding the origin of buck. The most popular is that is derives from the word &quot;<a href="http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/725/whats-the-origin-of-the-word-buck">buckskins</a>,&quot; which were a valuable form of currency when colonials were trading goods with Native Americans. For instance, a cask of whiskey would be worth five buckskins. Perhaps the terms &quot;bucks&quot; just stayed with us, even when deerskins have long since stopped being used as currency.</p> <h2>Quid</h2> <p>The natives of Britain commonly refer to the English pound as &quot;quid.&quot; Only someone trying to appear very formal would say &quot;pounds,&quot; when &quot;that'll be 20 quid&quot; is so much more acceptable. Where did <em>quid</em> come from though? Again, there is not one specific and definitive source, but two popular theories keep appearing in research documents. We know <a href="http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-quid.htm">the word quid</a> has been around since the 1600s. The Latin term <em>quid pro quo</em> (something for something... remember Hannibal Lecter?) was widely used back then, and it could have easily been coupled with a monetary exchange. However, the fact that a site of the Royal Mint was in <em>Quidhampton</em>, Wiltshire, is also floated as a possible source.</p> <h2>Bread or Dough</h2> <p>We've all heard these terms, and they're especially popular in the UK. Many people suspect that the term came from the fact that bread is one of the most basic forms of food, and something we often used to rely upon for nutrition. &quot;Give us this day, our daily bread,&quot; from the Lord's prayer, for instance, could be taken literally or figuratively. The term <a href="http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=bread">breadwinner</a>, used commonly from the 1940s onwards, took this idea and ran with it. The term <em>bread</em> was directly tied with someone who earned money. From there, it's easy to see how <em>bread</em>, and subsequently <em>dough</em>, came into common usage. Then there's Cockney rhyming slang. The term &quot;bread and honey&quot; was used instead of money. But there's enough evidence to suggest that <em>bread</em> was used as a term for money before the Cockney's adopted it.</p> <h2>Clams</h2> <p>If something is going to set you back 75 <em>clams</em>, you know what you're going to be paying. A <em>clam</em> is one dollar. How on earth did that connection become established? The most popular answer to this question is that clamshells were once used as currency in different parts of the world. There is also evidence that Native Americans from the California region (the <a href="http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/kroeber/miwok.html">Miwok people</a>) dealt in <a href="http://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu/exhibitions/ncc/gallery_3_2_7.html">strings of clamshells</a> as currency, or for barter and trade.</p> <h2>Cheddar or Cheese</h2> <p>Although not related to any specific amount, people often refer to money as <a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/slideshows/money#cheddar"><em>cheddar</em></a>, or <em>cheese</em>. Ever wonder why? It appears to date back to the 1960s, when welfare and food stamp recipients were provided with a product called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_cheese">government cheese</a>. It sounds about as appetizing as it probably was, as this processed product was made from surplus milk and different types of cheeses, blended with emulsifiers. Terms like &quot;you get your <em>cheese</em> yet?&quot; started to become synonymous with getting money from the government, not just processed cheese.</p> <h2>Sawbuck</h2> <p>Of all the terms on this list, the <em>sawbuck</em> is the easiest to explain. A sawbuck is another name for a sawhorse, which was originally fashioned by lashing two pieces of wood together to form an &quot;X.&quot; Some of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_ten-dollar_bill">first US $10 bills had a large Roman numeral X (10)</a> printed on one side. It was from this simple visual cue that the <em>sawbuck</em> nickname was born.</p> <h2>Greenback</h2> <p>We know the term <em>greenback</em> as a generic term for dollars, but back in the mid-1800s, it was not a term of endearment. During the American Civil War, over <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/greenback.asp">$400 million in legal tender</a> was printed to finance the conflict. But this money, printed green on one side, did not have the secure backing of gold and silver. Because of this, banks were reluctant to give customers the full value of the <em>greenback</em> dollar. Remember that next time you ask for 100 <em>greenbacks</em>; a history buff may just shortchange you. (By the way, our British readers may know the term from a very popular show from the eighties. Baron Greenback was the master villain that Danger Mouse often tried to overcome.)</p> <p><em>Know any other slang terms for US Dollars? Please share a few in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clams-cheese-and-bread-why-we-call-money-what-we-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-ive-been-trying-to-say">What I&#039;ve been trying to say</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-money-laws-you-may-have-broken">7 Weird Money Laws You May Have Broken</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/common-currency-a-primer">Common Currency: A Primer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc">Book review: Life Inc.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-george-w-bush-write-for-wisebread">Should George W. Bush write for Wisebread?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News dollars money money names slang Tue, 17 Jun 2014 09:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1142935 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Still Pay Attention to Bitcoin http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-still-pay-attention-to-bitcoin <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-still-pay-attention-to-bitcoin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bitcoin-467138313.jpg" alt="bitcoin" title="bitcoin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It might sound like something the Super Mario Brothers obsessively hoard, but <em>bitcoin</em> is a form of electronic currency that's worth real money. Little known and even less understood, bitcoin has been gaining steam on a global scale as digital commerce continues to dominate consumer practices. However, due to its early adoption on the black market and price volatility, bitcoin is seen as something of a financial urban legend. While bitcoin has a checkered past and uncertain future, it is being exchanged right now for real money. So the question remains, should you invest in this cryptocurrency? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-you-should-know-about-bitcoin?ref=seealso">Here's What You Should Know About Bitcoin</a>)</p> <p>Introduced in 2009, bitcoin emerged as a peer-to-peer payment method; digital cash that users could trade for goods and services. Because bitcoins can be exchanged without an intermediary (such as a bank) it has its share of supporters and naysayers, each citing advantages and flaws in the system.</p> <h2>Fixed Supply</h2> <p>Traditional currencies like the US dollar are subject to inflation and price manipulation; however, the value of bitcoin lies solely with those willing to use and accept it as payment. Simply put, bitcoin's worth is derived from the basic concept of supply and demand.</p> <p>The total number of bitcoins is fixed at 21 million; once all 21 million bitcoins have been &quot;<a href="http://www.coindesk.com/information/how-bitcoin-mining-works/">mined</a>,&quot; that's it. It is estimated that there are <a href="http://blockchain.info/charts/total-bitcoins">12.3 million bitcoins in circulation</a> and it will take <a href="https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Controlled_supply">until 2140</a> for all available bitcoins to be mined. Bitcoins are introduced into circulation via a complex mathematical algorithm designed such that it mirrors the behavior of commodities like gold (hence why folks who discover bitcoins are called miners).</p> <p>As more bitcoins are added into circulation, &quot;mining&quot; them becomes increasingly difficult. This self-propagating scarcity drives the value of each bitcoin up, provided the demand continues.</p> <h2>Small Transaction Fees</h2> <p>When bitcoin was introduced, virtually no reputable businesses had heard of it, much less accepted it as a form of payment. The anonymity and untraceable characteristics of the digital currency was seen as an advantage in some of the Internet's seedier recesses, and bitcoin found early adopters within <a href="http://lawstreetmedia.com/news/headlines/bitcoin-why-is-it-prone-to-criminal-activity/">questionable circles</a>.</p> <p>However, as bitcoin becomes mainstream, traditional businesses are opening up to the unconventional tender. While bitcoin hasn't asserted itself as the currency of choice with merchants, it can be spent on everything from <a href="http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/virtual-bitcoins-can-now-be-traded-for-dominos-pizza/">pizza</a> to <a href="http://mashable.com/2013/04/17/okcupid-bitcoin/">online dating</a>, and the <a href="http://www.coindesk.com/information/what-can-you-buy-with-bitcoins/">list is only getting longer</a>.</p> <p>Bitcoin's surge in popularity amongst traditional retailers can be attributed to the low cost of transaction fees. Credit card companies charge merchants fees to use their services, something that retailers have derided for years. Because bitcoin is traded like cash, the <a href="http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-transaction-fees-slashed-tenfold/">processing fees are small</a> when compared to more traditionally accepted methods of payment.</p> <p>The intrinsic value of any currency is judged primarily on the ability to spend it. As the number of businesses willing to accept bitcoin grows, so does its value.</p> <h2>Potential Adoption in Emerging Markets</h2> <p>With basic financial services difficult to access in the developing world, bitcoin offers a method of transaction unrestricted by geographically isolated financial institutions like banks.</p> <p>With <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/more-70-emerging-market-internet-users-are-facebook-fb-twitter-twtr-1555333">Internet usage growing</a> in these emerging markets and bitcoin payment systems accessible via phone or PC, bitcoin may very well become the method of choice by which these regions conduct business. Not only is this <a href="http://www.policymic.com/articles/41561/bitcoin-price-2013-how-bitcoin-could-help-the-world-s-poorest-people">beneficial in terms of economic development</a> in these areas, but it also increases bitcoin demand, resulting in good things for those holding on to these digital dollars.</p> <h2>Lack of Security</h2> <p>Bitcoin (as well as <a href="http://altcoins.com/">other forms of digital currency</a>) is decentralized, meaning that there is no figure of authority that controls it (like a central bank). Consequently, end users are responsible for looking after their own bitcoins and, since they are intangible, you can't exactly make a withdrawal and stash them under your mattress.</p> <p>Bitcoins are stored in a digital &quot;<a href="http://www.coindesk.com/information/how-to-store-your-bitcoins/">wallet</a>&quot; that allows the user to access his or her bitcoins and spend them. Just as people fall victim to pickpockets and purse-snatchers, your digital wallet is not safe from cyber thievery. The wallet that manages bitcoins is safeguarded by nothing more than a password.</p> <p>There are <a href="https://bitcoin.org/en/secure-your-wallet"> multiple methods to secure</a> your hard earned digi-cash, however nothing is foolproof, as illustrated by <a href="http://gizmodo.com/the-6-biggest-bitcoin-heists-in-history-1531881137">multiple, near-catastrophic heists</a>. One of the largest bitcoin thefts occurred when the exchange known as Mt. Gox fell victim to hackers. Using stolen passwords, the hackers made fraudulent trades on the Mt. Gox exchange and accumulated nearly $500,000,000 worth of bitcoin. That's half a billion&hellip;with a 'b'. The true owners of these bitcoins were left with empty pockets and, because bitcoins are notoriously hard to trace, there is little hope that they will ever see reimbursement.</p> <p>As the value of bitcoin increases, so does the attention of criminals. Because bitcoin isn't backed by any bank or government, once your bitcoin is gone, it's not coming back. This makes bitcoin thieves a lot like Keyser Soze, a tap of the keys and a click of the mouse and just like that&hellip; poof. They're gone.</p> <h2>Status as Legal Tender</h2> <p>Bitcoin's impact on the global economy is subject to speculation and, as a result, most of the world's governments are keeping mum on how they <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/01/31/bitcoins-legality-around-the-world/">plan to treat it</a>. As a currency still very much in its infancy, the status of bitcoin as legal tender is questionable.</p> <p>The IRS recently proclaimed that <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-25/bitcoin-is-property-not-currency-in-tax-system-irs-says.html">bitcoin is property</a> and consequently must be declared come tax time. This adds <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/04/15/how-i-paid-my-bitcoin-taxes/">a level of complexity</a> that may impede bitcoin adoption, however many see this recognition as a step towards legitimizing bitcoin as a true method of payment.</p> <p>Many of bitcoin's most vocal critics claim that the <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-04/greenspan-says-bitcoin-a-bubble-without-intrinsic-currency-value.html">digital currency is inherently worthless</a> due to its decentralized nature. When the FBI shut down the online <a href="http://www.wired.com/2013/11/silk-road/">narcotic marketplace Silk Road</a>, the feds seized approximately $25 million worth of bitcoins, which they are now <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/01/16/the-feds-are-ready-to-sell-the-silk-road-bitcoin-kind-of/">gearing up to sell</a>.</p> <p>With the federal government preparing to get their piece of the bitcoin pie, it is becoming harder to refute the validity of bitcoin's worth. Bitcoin may not be backed by financial institutions or governments, but the basic principles of supply and demand have solidified its place as a legitimate commodity. After all, gold is just a rock in the ground, and money isn't worth the paper it's printed on.</p> <p><em>Do you own bitcoin? Have you considered it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ryan-lynch">Ryan Lynch</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-still-pay-attention-to-bitcoin">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clams-cheese-and-bread-why-we-call-money-what-we-do">Clams, Cheese, and Bread: Why We Call Money What We Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-ive-been-trying-to-say">What I&#039;ve been trying to say</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gas-prices-begin-a-rebound-5-things-to-know-now-before-you-buy-your-next-car">Gas Prices Begin a Rebound: 5 Things to Know Now Before You Buy Your Next Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one">Miracle Device Coin Rolls All Your Credit Cards Into One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-debt-ceiling-crisis-in-everyday-english">The Debt Ceiling Crisis in Everyday English</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News bitcoin crypto-currency Fri, 23 May 2014 08:12:16 +0000 Ryan Lynch 1140202 at http://www.wisebread.com Miracle Device Coin Rolls All Your Credit Cards Into One http://www.wisebread.com/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-card-177134984.jpg" alt="credit cards" title="credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having your credit cards all suddenly disappear is something people usually fear. But now it's something you can eagerly look forward to, thanks to <a href="https://onlycoin.com/">Coin</a>, a new credit-card sized wonder-device that will effectively store all of your plastic in one place.</p> <p>The device has had early adopters salivating for about a year now, but it just <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/02/coin-video-demo/">debuted at tech festival Techcrunch Disrupt</a>, making its planned late summer ship date all the more real.</p> <p>So what <em>is</em> Coin, exactly? It's the size of a credit card, it looks like a credit card, and most importantly, it swipes like a credit card. But really, it's multiple credit cards stored on an electronic gadget that lets you toggle between each, eliminating the need to carry around a bulky wallet. Much of the beauty of the gadget is in its simplicity. Uploading cards, for example, is done with by simply swiping them through an iPhone attachment and then snapping a photo of each. Once uploaded, Coin lets you toggle among cards with the push of a button, allowing you, for instance, to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards">pay for gas with the company card</a>, then buy groceries with your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">cash back card</a>, then pay for dinner with your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">travel rewards card</a>.</p> <p>As with any great concentration of power (in this case, purchasing power), there's potential danger. What if you leave Coin behind, losing not only one card, but, effectively, <i>all</i> your cards? Never fear: the device uses a Bluetooth signal that syncs with your phone, meaning if the two get separated (e.g., You leave the card with the check), you'll be immediately notified.</p> <p>While first shipments are still a couple months away, Coin is accepting pre-orders now. Order now, and it may be one of the last time you actually need to dig out of one of your credit cards.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/w9Sx34swEG0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pieces-of-credit-card-tech-that-will-blow-your-mind">6 Pieces of Credit Card Tech That Will Blow Your Mind</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs">6 Gadgets Every Work at Home Professional Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-waterproof-laptop-cases">The 5 Best Waterproof Laptop Cases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-dont-love-capital-one-how-to-get-a-lower-apr-or-possibly-not">I Don&#039;t Love Capital One - How to Get a Lower APR, or Possibly Not</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-spend-more-with-cash-or-credit">Do You Spend More with Cash or Credit?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Financial News Technology credit card gadgets technology Thu, 15 May 2014 09:00:25 +0000 Joe Epstein 1138804 at http://www.wisebread.com New App Ondot Is a Remote Control for Your Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/new-app-ondot-is-a-remote-control-for-your-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-app-ondot-is-a-remote-control-for-your-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/phone-148486921.jpg" alt="smartphone" title="smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What's the good of ordering food via your smartphone's Grubhub app or ordering a car via its Uber app if you don't also have an app to make sure there's some money left on your credit card when it gets there? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smartphone-apps-that-manage-and-maximize-your-credit-card-rewards?ref=seealso">Apps to Manage Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <p>Well soon you will, thanks to <a href="http://www.ondotsystems.com">Ondot</a>, a San Jose-based company that just unveiled Card Control, a mobile command center for defeating fraud, all built into your phone.</p> <p>At the most basic level, the app serves as an extra line of protection against fraud, allowing the user to toggle the card's use on or off, or set the card to only function within certain parameters.</p> <p>For example, a location-based control means one can set their card to work only in a specific zip code, meaning it will automatically shut off if it gets nabbed and taken for a ride. Or, the app can sync a phone's GPS to the card, effectively disabling it if they're separated (e.g., the card is left behind).</p> <p>Other users might choose to toggle types of merchants the card will work with, disabling e-merchants until the user manually unlocks them before making a purchase, for instance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keep-your-credit-card-safe-while-shopping-online?ref=seealso">Credit Card Safety When Shopping Online</a>)</p> <p>And here's where &mdash; even for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-your-credit-card-spending-style">those unconcerned with fraud</a> &mdash; the app gets really interesting. That same technology allows parents to limit or toggle types of spending on their kids' credit cards, meaning one might allow food purchases but bar clothing expenditures on any particular card. And the app would even allow parents to monitor their kids' card use in real time.</p> <p>While the company's been around since 2011 and already raised $18 million in funding, the app itself is just now rolling out, having already partnered with four major card processors working with 10,000 banks and credit unions across the country.</p> <p><img width="605" height="446" src="/files/fruganomics/u784/Ondot.jpg" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-app-ondot-is-a-remote-control-for-your-credit-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-cycling-apps-for-5-or-less">The 10 Best Cycling Apps for $5 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one">Miracle Device Coin Rolls All Your Credit Cards Into One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-buying-groceries-online-is-great">3 Reasons Why Buying Groceries Online Is Great</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-favorite-mail-order-websites">10 Favorite Mail-Order Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet">What Net Neutrality Means For Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Technology credit card fraud online shopping smartphone apps Sat, 26 Apr 2014 04:14:40 +0000 Joe Epstein 1136959 at http://www.wisebread.com Save More by Avoiding Multiple Bank Accounts http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-by-avoiding-multiple-bank-accounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-more-by-avoiding-multiple-bank-accounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-4562214-small.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want to save more? Keep it simple.</p> <p>Conventional wisdom holds that people should spread savings across different accounts, and the typical American has multiple checking and savings and other types of financial accounts. However, they're more likely to save more with just one savings account, according to a new study by a University of Kansas researcher. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/zen-and-the-art-of-hiding-money" target="_blank">Zen and the Art of Hiding Money</a>)</p> <p>People save more if they have just one account compared to multiple checking and savings accounts, according to Kansas University assistant professor Promothesh Chatterjee.</p> <p>&quot;Nowadays, the average American has multiple liquid accounts, typically a combination of checking and savings accounts,&quot; he said in a <a href="http://www.news.ku.edu/2013/04/17/trying-save-more-consolidate-your-bank-accounts-researcher-says" target="_blank">press release</a>. &quot;But our research finds this is the wrong strategy to encourage saving. We find that individuals are more likely to save if they have only one primary account, rather than many accounts.&quot;</p> <h2>Banking Implications</h2> <p>His research has implications for accepted banking practices and national policies. Banks frequently offer several accounts to new clients, but the findings argue against that practice.</p> <p>Americans save next to nothing &mdash; the current national savings rate is estimated at 5%. And the inability to save cuts across income and educational levels.</p> <p>&quot;Given that context, this type of research is important to lots of people,&quot; Chatterjee said.</p> <p>Why does having several accounts encourage people to save less?</p> <blockquote><p>Utilizing work on motivated reasoning and fuzzy-trace theory, we suggest that multiple accounts engender fuzzy gist representations, making it easier for people to generate justifications to support their desired spending decisions. However, a single account reduces the latitude for distortion and hinders generation of justifications to support desirable spending decisions.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Fuzzy Savings</h2> <p>In other words, people with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts" target="_blank">more accounts lack a clear idea</a> of how much they have saved and use that muddled picture to rationalize their spending decisions. We feel good about ourselves over the long-term when we save, but we feel good right away when we spend, which prompts us to find justifications to spend.</p> <p>Simply put, if you have different savings accounts, it's easy to convince yourself that you have a ton of savings. If you have it all in one place, you can plainly see what you have &mdash; or don't have.</p> <p>Those who are opposed to consolidating accounts, according to the research, can at least try using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-budgeting-pocketsmith-helps-you-forecast" target="_blank">software programs that add up different accounts</a>, allowing users to see the total in one place.</p> <p>His research used four separate studies with a total of 566 participants who had the opportunity to earn, spend, and save money. The results were published in the May 2013 issue of the journal &quot;Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.&quot;</p> <p>The students participating in the study earned money for doing tasks on a computer, and then had chances to buy items, such as university T-shirts, notebooks, and a computer mouse, or add money to their savings, according to a <a href="http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/fewer-bank-accounts-may-result-in-more-savings/" target="_blank">New York Times story</a> on the research. Those who kept earnings in a single account saved more than those with multiple accounts. The issue was not their mathematical abilities, but rather their motivation, Chatterjee said.</p> <h2>Targeted Accounts for Saving?</h2> <p>Others disagree and argue that using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system" target="_blank">targeted savings accounts</a> is the best way to accumulate savings.</p> <p>Different savings accounts &mdash; for example for emergencies, a new car, and a vacation &mdash; offer a motivational tool for saving for specific goals, writes one proponent of <a href="http://business.time.com/2011/08/23/use-targeted-saving-to-achieve-your-goals" target="_blank">targeted savings accounts</a>, J.D. Roth, founder of website Get Rich Slowly and author of &quot;Your Money: The Missing Manual.&quot;</p> <p>When savings are combined, it's easy to lose track of how much you've saved for each goal and use money for one goal to pay for another use, he says, adding that online savings accounts offer higher yields and let customers split their funds into subaccounts and even name them.</p> <p><em>Do you use multiple accounts to manage your savings or just one? What works best for you in terms of reaching your savings goals?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/michael-kling">Michael Kling</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-by-avoiding-multiple-bank-accounts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy Are Your Bank Accounts?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-quirky-ways-to-spend-less-and-kick-start-saving">4 Quirky Ways to Spend Less and Kick-Start Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/38-ways-to-save-money-without-trying-much">38 Ways to Save Money Without Trying (Much)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-still-write-paper-checks">Why I Still Write Paper Checks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Budgeting Financial News bank accounts saving strategies savings accounts Mon, 17 Jun 2013 09:48:33 +0000 Michael Kling 977910 at http://www.wisebread.com What I Miss About the Recession http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-miss-about-the-recession <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-i-miss-about-the-recession" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3348350633_05b146223b_z.jpg" alt="recession bargain" title="recession bargain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The recent &quot;Great Recession&quot; was officially deemed to be over in 2009, but it is only recently that the economic recovery seems to have really picked up speed. While it is nice to see the stock market go up and the unemployment rate go down, I do miss a few things about the recessionary years. I'm not actually looking forward to the next recession, of course, but when it comes (and it will, some time), here's what I'll be looking forward to more of. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-for-a-recession">Preparing for a Recession</a>)</p> <h2>Less Traffic</h2> <p>Lately I have definitely felt that traffic has increased during commute hours. It is great that more people are getting jobs, but I do miss the shorter commute times and less congested roads. Apparently the increase in traffic is happening all around the country, and the National Safety Council reported the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nsc.org/Pages/National-Safety-Council-Estimates-First-National-Increase-in-Traffic-Deaths-Since-2005-.aspx">first increase in traffic related fatalities in years. </a></p> <h2>Shorter Lines</h2> <p>During the recession we rarely had to wait for a spot at a restaurant, but now that is very common. Restaurants that did not need a reservation during the recession are bustling once again. It is great to see establishments have more business, but it was nice to eat in sparsely populated dining rooms where it was easier to hear your friends across the table. There were also shorter lines at many malls and parks.</p> <h2>Bargains</h2> <p>It was much easier to find a bargain during the recession. You could negotiate down the price of almost everything, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-try-to-reduce-your-rent">including rent</a>. Hotels and travel were also cheap, and there were more restaurant coupons than I could use.</p> <p>Lately I have definitely seen fewer sales and coupons and an increase in prices on most goods and services. Large ticket items such as furniture and real estate were being sold at below replacement cost during the last recession, but now it is much more difficult to find a bargain that good.</p> <h2>Frugality and Saving</h2> <p>In the last few years everyone talked about saving instead of buying that next big thing. The frugal people were suddenly not so crazy!</p> <p>Now it seems that the tide is turning, and saving money is beginning to be uncool again. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-a-good-interest-rate-in-a-low-rate-environment">zero interest environment</a> does not help the savers' argument at all, and there seems to be less urgency for everyone to save as a whole. The funny thing is that saving during the lean years when you have less income is much harder than saving during the flush years. I do miss that more people cared about saving money during the recession, and I hope they realize that they should try to save more now to prepare for the next recession.</p> <p>There are many things about the last few years that were not very nice, but I definitely saw the brighter side of the worst economy since World War II. I hope some of you were able to get some great bargains that you could use for years to come, and that you are keeping up those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-saving-habits-make-you-a-revolutionary">good frugal habits</a> you have learned. In the next recession those who have cash will have many more choices than those who don't.</p> <p><em>What do you miss about the recession?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-miss-about-the-recession">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-normal-economy">The new normal economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-george-w-bush-write-for-wisebread">Should George W. Bush write for Wisebread?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-within-your-means-isnt-nasty">Living within your means isn&#039;t nasty</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-for-a-recession">Preparing for a Recession</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News bargains Economy habits recession Fri, 29 Mar 2013 09:48:30 +0000 Xin Lu 971476 at http://www.wisebread.com Boost Your Retirement Savings: Avoid 401(k) Fees http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-avoid-401k-fees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/boost-your-retirement-savings-avoid-401k-fees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guy_with_paperwork2.jpg" alt="Guy with paperwork" title="Guy with paperwork" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="157" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might not have noticed if your 401(k) plan has been charging exorbitant fees for accounting, record keeping, legal work, management, or for any number of dubious reasons. In fact, 7 out of 10 participants don't know they pay fees to their 401(k) plan provider, according to an <a target="_blank" href="http://www.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/info-02-2011/401k-fees-awareness-11.html">AARP survey</a>. When told of the fees, 6 in 10 didn't know how much they pay, and almost a third said they do not feel knowledgeable about the impact fees have on their retirement savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-401K">How to Make the Most of Your 401(k)</a>)</p> <p>A single fee may not be much, but they certainly add up over time and cut into your hard-earned retirement savings. Fees for a median-income two-earner family can reach almost $155,000 and consume nearly a third of the workers' investment returns over a lifetime, warns Demos, a progressive think tank. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.demos.org/publication/retirement-savings-drain-hidden-excessive-costs-401ks">According to its calculations</a>, a family with each partner earning the median income for their gender will pay an average of $154,794 in 401(k) fees over its lifetime.</p> <p>Plan administrators have gotten away with excessive fees because many people don't know about them. Even if you thought to ask, you might have found the information difficult to understand.</p> <p>That is hopefully changing with new rules from the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/understandingretirementfees.html#.UMfOtIPBGSo">Department of Labor</a>. Regulations rolled out this year require 401(k) administrators to clearly spell out any fees and expenses for administrative services, such as legal, accounting, or record keeping.</p> <p>Plan administrators must provide total annual operating expenses as both a percentage of assets and a dollar amount for each $1,000 invested. They also have to provide historical investment returns over the past 1, 5, and 10 years along with returns of similar market indexes for comparisons.</p> <p>Regardless of the new reporting requirements, you can avoid paying high account fees by following a few simple steps.</p> <h2>Go for Low-Fee Options</h2> <p>Unless there's a good reason to pay a higher fee, pick investment options with lower fees. Aggressive stock funds may do well one year but rarely consistently do better than the overall stock market. Plus, their high fees eat into returns.</p> <h2>Use Index Funds</h2> <p>Index funds, which are based on market indexes, have substantially lower management fees than actively managed funds that have administrators picking their stocks or bonds &mdash; usually less than 0.5% compared to 1% or more. And more expensive funds don't return more money than index funds over the long run.</p> <h2>Consider IRAs</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">IRAs offer greater investment choices</a> and often lower costs, although you probably should stick with a 401(k) if your employer matches contributions.</p> <h2>Ask for Options</h2> <p>Ask your human resources department or boss for more low-fee options like index funds.</p> <h2>Beware Special Fees</h2> <p>Watch out for fees for any special features, trading costs, and fees associated with insurance products like variable annuities.</p> <h2>Don't Borrow From Your 401(k)</h2> <p>This may entail a service fee. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tax-penalties-for-early-retirement-withdrawals">Borrowing from your retirement fund</a> is generally bad idea anyway and should only be a last resort.</p> <h2>Use Online Tools</h2> <p>Online tools, such as <a target="_blank" href="http://www.aarp.org/money/investing/compare_investment_fees_calculator.html">AARP's 401(k) fee calculator</a>, can help you compare costs to other 401(k) providers. If costs seem exorbitant, point that out to your HR department or consider an IRA.</p> <p>Unfortunately, new rules don't require plan providers to show how costs impact your savings over the years or require them to compare their fees to other plan administrators. The hope is that greater knowledge and increased transparency will increase competition and drive down costs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/michael-kling">Michael Kling</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-avoid-401k-fees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-step-staircase-to-a-comfortable-retirement">The 10-Step Staircase to a Comfortable Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-running-out-of-money-in-retirement">6 Ways to Avoid Running Out of Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-choose-a-roth-401k-or-a-regular-401k">Should You Choose a Roth 401k or a Regular 401k?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-not-just-for-people">Retirement: Not Just for People?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Investment Retirement 401k account fees retirement planning Thu, 20 Dec 2012 10:48:37 +0000 Michael Kling 959728 at http://www.wisebread.com Downside of the Rolling Jubilee http://www.wisebread.com/downside-of-the-rolling-jubilee <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/downside-of-the-rolling-jubilee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5040430171_2ab0f60994_z.jpg" alt="hands" title="hands" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a media-savvy ploy to shift public opinion on the debt problem, the Rolling Jubilee may be a brilliant PR move. It's probably not much real help for debtors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-debt-fools-people">How Debt Fools People</a>)</p> <p>Are you familiar with the <a href="http://rollingjubilee.org/">Rolling Jubilee</a>? What they do is use donations to buy up distressed debt for pennies on the dollar, then forgive the debt and send the debtor a letter telling him how to get started cleaning up his credit rating.</p> <p>As public relations, this is brilliant. It highlights the way lenders and collection agencies swap these debts around for pennies on the dollar &mdash; but won't let the <em>debtor</em> pay it off for pennies on the dollar. It also engages the public in a discussion on the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wage-slave-debt-slave">unfairness of our current system of debt</a> and the crushing burden weighing down the poor, the sick, the young, the troubled, and the merely unlucky.</p> <p>As a way of actually relieving debt for actual people, it doesn't do much.</p> <h2>Too Little Help for Too Few People</h2> <p>Any debt that can be bought up for pennies on the dollar is debt that was already long ago written off as uncollectable.</p> <p>That doesn't mean it's not a problem for the debtor. The debt's presence on their credit report probably makes it impossible for the debtor to ever get their finances cleaned up. It doesn't just make it impossible to borrow money; it makes it tougher to find a place to live, find a job, get insurance, even open a bank account. (If that last applies to you, check out my posts <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-tools-for-the-unbanked">New Tools for the Unbanked</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-direct-deposit-safe-for-the-garnished">Making Direct Deposit Safe for the Garnished</a>.)</p> <p>It does mean it probably isn't the debtor's biggest problem. Forgiving $1,100 originally charged on some credit card is great, but it does nothing to keep the electricity turned on or stave off foreclosure or cover the health insurance bill.</p> <p>So from the debtor's perspective, it's more a tease than actual help. &quot;Oh joy! Kind strangers have swooped in and solved my eleventh most pressing problem!&quot;</p> <p>It also helps too few people for the debt reduction to have any societal effect. A really sweeping reduction in the amount of debt that all heavily indebted people owed would change the whole economy, unleashing all sorts of activity from people previously trapped by debt. (Unleashing spending, of course, but not just that. It would also free people to be more entrepreneurial, if they didn't have the relentless burden of monthly payments.)</p> <h2>Pernicious Effect on Debt Value</h2> <p>This, I think, is where the Rolling Jubilee does real harm.</p> <p>A lot of the debt that has gone into collections isn't even owed. This can happen a lot of different ways:</p> <ul> <li>A legitimate debt was paid in full, but is still on the books due to an error by the lender.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Debt that was illegitimate from the start, such as money borrowed by an identity thief.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The lender has gotten confused about who owes the money and is dunning the wrong person.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The debt was discharged in bankruptcy.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The debt is disputed, such as when a shoddy product is returned, but the seller refused to credit the account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The underlying debt is a trivial amount &mdash; a $10 late fee &mdash; but has blown up to a large sum due to additional fees and penalty interest rates.</li> </ul> <p>Most of those cases could be sorted out if the borrower (or supposed borrower) knew their rights. Most could be ended with a simple letter along the lines of, &quot;I don't owe that money. Either send me proof that I'm wrong or quit bugging me.&quot; Sadly, too many borrowers don't know their rights with regard to disputed debts.</p> <p>The problem is, even bogus and disputed debts like these have some value on the secondary market. Debt collectors on the sleazier end of the business will buy debts for, let's say, 5 cents on the dollar. Then they badger the supposed borrowers, trying to get blood out of a stone. If the collection agency can collect 10 cents on the dollar, they're making real money.</p> <p>Once they've gotten what money they can, they'll sell everything on to some even sleazier agency.</p> <p>The danger I see is this &mdash; if the Rolling Jubilee will pay cash for these debts &mdash; especially if they're buying the cheapest ones they can find &mdash; they're rewarding the very people who keep selling on the illegitimate debts. That makes it worth keeping the fake debt &mdash; debt nobody actually owes &mdash; on the books.</p> <p>Anything that makes it more profitable to be sloppy about keeping track of who does and doesn't owe you money is a bad thing.</p> <h2>Still Probably a Positive Force</h2> <p>Despite the fact that the movement will do little good for real debtors, and will do some real harm (by inflating the value of fake debts), I think on balance the Rolling Jubilee is a good thing.</p> <p>I don't expect it will get big enough to be a real factor in the debt market, so the real harm is as limited as the real good it might do. But just by existing, it is advancing the discussion on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">how our society handles debt</a>. That's a big win.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/downside-of-the-rolling-jubilee">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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